"She was the owner of two slum apartment blocks in Rome"
Roman dwellings came in three main forms: country villas, townhouses and apartment blocks (insulae
). The Roman poor often dwelt in slum apartment blocks as much as nine storeys high, in small, cramped living quarters. These slum blocks were terrible fire hazards and often extremely unsafe. Later, the maximum height of these insulae
were reduced for safety reasons under the emperors. The rich apartment-owners could make good money from the amount of rent payers crammed into one tall building. The bottom floor was usually utilised for shops, bars and small businesses.